When Decade first opened in 1998, the South Broadway store was a vintage-only haven. Now, though, the store boasts an assortment of gifts, home decor, and clothing (as well as various knick knacks you didn’t know you needed). The mix is chic, vintage, refined, and coy—all at once. The store’s deliciously eclectic collection isn’t an accident. We sat down with owner Kris Tait to chat about how she finds the right vendors and what it’s like to be a stronghold of South Denver’s design district.
5280: The store can be a little hard to explain to people who haven’t been here before. How would you describe it?
Kris Tait: It’s kind of like Anthropologie but only better. We have more of a variety of offerings and actually sell furniture. It’s kind of a lifestyle store. When you come in looking for one thing, you may very well walk out with something else. It’s also a gift store, of course. And I definitely work to keep things local. I like that because it makes it different. Otherwise I’m Nordstrom.
5280: Decade just celebrated its 15th anniversary. How has South Broadway changed over the years?
KT: I bought the building in 1996, and at that time Famous Pizza, Kitty’s, and the Mayan Theatre were here. And that is about it, as far as what has lasted over the years.
Broadway sometimes takes two steps forward and one step back. But, finally, in these past two years it seems to be marching strongly ahead. I am noticing a lot of bars and restaurants, which are good, but I’d like to see a little more retail. I think that along the way you need to have that day business as well and not just the evening bar scene.
5280: What’s the philosophy behind Decade?
KT: When I first opened the store, there was really nothing like this at all in Denver. And one of the main philosophies that we established the business on was having cool stuff at a good value, across the board. It makes my job a little more challenging because I have to not just like something, but it has to be at the price point I want to have in my store. If I started walking in with $350 leather hobo bags, I like them and it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to have them, but my customers don’t expect that.
5280: How do you find the perfect pieces for your store?
KT: Before I had a child, we would do cross-country road trips and lots of auctions and estate sells looking for vintage and antique furniture. Luckily, I’ve been in business for 15 years so a lot of people come to me now. I still go out and get two full loads of furniture a month, by myself, and go to gift shows at different parts of the country. Anyone who wants to come in can make an appointment and come in.
5280: A lot of customers remember your store cat, Stella. How is he doing?
KT: Stella the Fella hasn’t been around here lately, and I think people get a little nervous and are afraid to ask. He is happily retired at my house and is very happy right now. He has been in the store since he was a baby, for almost 15 years. Boy, he has brought in a lot of business. A lot of kids have grown up around this cat and they’d come into see him. He is still with us, just not in the store anymore.